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A Local's Guide to Florence, Italy

Describe who you are in 3 sentences:
My name is Chloé Serfaty, I am a French 32-year-old woman who used to live in Florence but I am now Paris-based. I freelance as a shoe designer for some brands in Paris and in New York. I love Italian food, travels, boxing and fashion.

What is your relation to this city?
I have ran a shoe brand from 2014 to 2018 which a factory near Florence crafted so I had to come very often to check on how developments and production were moving forward. Eventually I decided to move there instead of traveling back and forth all the time, so I lived in Florence for about 3 years.

Best experience?
Italian’s easy-going but discreet attitude in this area of Italy. You can feel people are passionate but also very well educated and they are warm-hearted.

Weirdest experience?
The airport runway is incredibly short so if the weather is windy, your flight may easily be cancelled or redirected to Pise airport.

Your top 3 hang out spots?
- "Colle Bereto"'s terrace for 'aperitivo', they have a big food buffet that comes with their cocktails and wines.
- "Gosh" before diner, a new bar who opened not long ago, they do amazing signature cocktails.
- "Il Giardino di Boboli" (Boboli gardens) during summer, a really beautiful park where the Palazzo Pitti stands.
- And I have to add the area on the other side of the river (Oltrarno) where you can find small and cute bars everywhere. This are is called 'San Niccolo'.

Favourite restaurants?
- "Trattoria 13 Gobbi", where you should order the Penne alla Chiantigiana, a pasta with meat cooked in a red wine sauce.
- "Buca Mario" for their amazing choice on the menu.
- "Buzzino" for the Tagliatelle al Tartuffo.
- And outside Florence (about half an hour by car) "Il Cantuccio del Buon Gustaio", which makes the best pastas I ever had in Tuscany with coco and prawns (but they won’t give away their full recipe).

Best date place?
Piazzale Michelangelo for its amazing view of Florence. The whole area around is majestic; this is also where you can find the most amazing and expensive houses of Florence.

Best Sunday spot?
A small restaurant along the river, "Lungarno", where you can sunbath on the terrace.

If you were to live in another place, where would that be and why?
I now live in Paris and I enjoy it very much. I find here a strong cultural and historical background like in Florence but the city is bigger.


Where is your escape place from this city?
Anywhere in the countryside, which is amazing. If you rent a car and drive only 15 minutes outside of Florence, you end up in a Leonard de Vinci painting. Tuscan hills are beautiful, but also other cities like Arezzo or Siena are to be seen absolutely. As well as small village like Montepulciano, Montalcino, Pienza and more.

Best 5 local advices?
1. Always be nice to people, some may look a bit cold at first (we are still north of Italy, this is not Napoli!) but they have big heart, and I have learnt that as soon as you smile or laugh with them, they open like flowers.
2. Don’t stay only in Florence; there is so much to see also outside Florence. Maybe next time I’ll do a local guide to Tuscany for AwayThisWay ;)
3. Don’t go to restaurants that look so fancy and are full of tourists; you will not get the best food. Sometimes I found amazing food in places that looked like nothing.
4. Don’t rent a car if you intend to stay in Florence only. The city is complicated to drive in, many places are forbidden by car and you are most likely to get fined all the time. And Florence is a small city that is easy to walk.
5. June, July, August and September are really hot months; I don’t recommend you to visit Florence during that time of the year where you will get between 35 and 40 degrees.
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